Images released of terrorist hostages in Niger

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The Independent Online

A videotape released on a jihadist forum has shown the first images of a group of hostages, including five French citizens, since they were seized two weeks ago in Niger by an al-Qa'ida offshoot and taken into the desert.

The four-minute tape shows still images of the hostages sitting cross-legged in the sand with a gently sloping dune behind them. French officials believe the seven hostages are now in the bordering West African nation of Mali.

The hostages were grabbed in the middle of the night on 16 September from their guarded villas in the uranium mining town of Arlit in Niger where they were working for French nuclear giant Areva.